Monday, October 22, 2012

I've had to come to terms with a harsh reality about my youngest daughter. I've thought it might be true for some time but wanted to believe otherwise, but after this past week I have to accept reality. It's hard to even type the words. Lean in and I'll whisper: Ainsley has her father's sleep habits. Dang it any old way. Emie and I know the fine art of blissful, uninterrupted sleep. We spend lots of life in a state of REM and it's altogether wonderful. Sleep has always come easily to me and I thought this was how it was for everyone else until I met Dirk.

Captured this rare moment on film to remind myself of what is possible.

For him sleep is this fragile place tiny and small. When he gets anywhere near to it everything in the atmosphere has to stay in its exact place. One slip and the whole thing crashes to the floor, shatters into hundreds of pieces, and he is awake again.

He actually falls asleep pretty easily with the aid of uploaded sermons, talk radio, white or pink noise (see how relative "easily" has become for me) but it is the staying asleep part that brings the challenge. This past week our little Ainsley love emerged from her room just about every night. She wouldn't come straight to our room. We'd hear her sitting on the steps humming to herself. Sometimes though she would come to our room and stand at the foot of our bed with the stealthy presence of the night stalker. It happened during those rare instances when Dirk was actually asleep at the same time I was. Her stealthy presence would, naturally and instantly shave ten years off of our lives. She's a sidler, that one. Quiet as a thief pulling off a monumental art heist. So last night was no different. I was in a state of blissful sleep no doubt dreaming about Mary Poppins offering me a year of free nannying when I sensed her presence. A mother just comes to know these things: one of the offspring is up and about. I opened the bedroom door to find her little precious self standing before me. "I can't sleep," she told me. "Maybe I could come in your bed just for a couple whiles." Well, she may be an insomniac but Miss Wakey Wakerson* is no dummy. Ask your mother for anything after waking her from a deep sleep and chances are mighty strong you're going to get it. So in she came, the soft bundle of a girl that she is.

She smells so good and is so supple in the middle of the night. She asks questions that would be funny if it weren't 1:30am like "Why does daddy's nose make that noise?" or "Is there a seed in my belly button that will grow something big?" These are the ponderings of a person whose been alive only 50 months. I love her sense of wonder. I love how small she seems in our big bed and how I can feel the firmness of her spine and ribs beneath my fingers through her flimsy nightgown. I love how she'll lean into me and whisper right into my ear with her warm breath, "Do you think you might like me to kiss you now?" It is unmatched and wonderful and beautiful. But it is 1:30 am almost none of this registers at that hour of the night or is already morning? Not entirely sure what to do about it. Prepare a little Nyquil nightcap for the little bird every night of the week? Dunno. But I am trying to enjoy her sweet presence even in the middle of the night. She is as precious as the days are long -- and they are long indeed.

* Completely lifted that moniker from the adorable Melanie

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We hosted our first party here on Friday night. Dirk's workmates, staff and their families were our guests. It was so much fun to make everything pretty and really put this house (built to entertain) to the test. I think my favorite moment was sitting out at one of the little cafe tables in the late evening. We were out by the pool, me and a couple of really lovely ladies with whom I was just getting acquainted. Candles lit our table as the moon hung high above us. The kids took turns bounding off of the jumping rock as we chatted and sipped our autumn sangria. Pure delight. We had a great time and were all spent with exhaustion at the night's end. I suppose that's why Mr. Gastroenteritis figured it was an ideal time to viciously attack us from the depths of the earth (or wherever he lives).

We went down like so many dominoes, succumbing to his ruthless blows. Ainsley was the first culprit and got hit pretty hard. She was over the worst of it after one bad night. I was next and am not too proud to say that this bug kicked my rear all over big Texas. Of course that really means it was well worn path between our bed and our bathroom but it felt like a lot of space. Have mercy, Lord. After about twenty continuous hours of nauseated misery, He did. I never knew the stomach flu is really a misnomer. It's not the flu really. When your stomach feels like it's stuck on the spin cycle you have what is called viral gastroenteritis. Dr. Google told me that. The two of us got pretty close as I consulted him in the middle of the night to find out how much longer I had to live.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

O is for October

This weekend brought with it a gift so rare it comes but a few times a year in this part of the world. Water fell straight from the sky! A real, full-fledged, welcome downpour of rain that lasted two full days. Yep - it was divine. It also rained out Dirk's Habitat for Humanity work day on Saturday. It will be rescheduled so we didn't have to say "Tough luck, homeless, but we're glad for a family day!" He'll be so glad to work with them again and we were so glad to have him home with us.

We made the most of the weekend together and headed out to the theatre to take in some amazing free cinematography Spy Kids movie. We actually had the biggest blast as it was playing for free at a local Drafthouse Theater where they serve food and drinks (even the grown-up kind) during the movie delivered by a waiter. The girls were amazed such a thing was possible. The movie might have been more enjoyable had I chosen to order an adult beverage after all - but we had great fun never the less.

Emie was invited to two separate birthday parties which both fell on the same day (Sunday). I still don't get the etiquette for kid parties. Do you stay or do you drop them? It's a bit of a question mark for me when the hostess isn't a friend of mine yet. My own little rule of thumb is that if it s a party hosted at a home then it's probably best to ask the mom if she thinks she can get through the afternoon sober without the help of another adult. Or something to this tactful effect. In my experience (limited though it is) the mom is always so glad you asked but happily shoos you home explaining that all manner of family have come in for the big event and she's well covered. This theory goes out the window if the kids are under five, of course, because who wants to be left alone (anywhere) with a pack of preschoolers? Anyway, if the party is held at one of those kiddie-Vegas type of deals with tokens and bouncers you are well free to hit the high road at drop off leaving your seven year old perfectly independent youngster in their care. A teen aged "hostess" has likely been assigned to the party and will be earning every thin dime of her minimum wage by keeping all of the sugared up hooligans out of trouble for two solid hours.